The Beko Rights Klub, BRK and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL have added their voices to the appeal for by some military officers convicted and under various categories of punishment by various courts-martial to the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement to hear their complaints against the Nigerian Army.
Mr. Debo Adeniran who made the appeal on behalf of BRK and CACOL said “we have consistently for the past two years been appealing to the authorities of the army and Federal government to grant former Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, Enitan Ransome-Kuti, who was demoted from the rank of Brigadier General to Colonel and others for their pardon.”
“We were especially pleased when he was released from confinement and with a sense of fulfillment because we had maintained that Enitan was innocent based on the fact that he acted more like a patriot and demonstrated a good sense of leadership with the decision he took which actually saved lives of many of our gallant soldiers that would have been lost in the Boko Haram ambush they retreated from.”
An exclusive report by The PUNCH yesterday revealed that some military officers convicted under various categories of punishment by various courts-martial have appealed to the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement to hear their complaints against the Nigerian Army. Some were also dismissed by the Nigerian Army for alleged negligence of military duties; and 54 soldiers, who claimed to have been illegally tried and convicted by the court-martial for demanding weapons for counter-insurgency operations in the North-East geopolitical zone.
Mr. Adeniran said “we implore the Nigerian Army Council to reconsider its’ decision to demote Brigadier General Enitan to the rank of Colonel just as we add our voice the plea for pardon by the soldiers on basis of compassion and consideration for their patriotism. We believe they deserve pardon.”
“The revelations reeled out from the Arms procurement scandal and the DasukiGate confirm Brigadier General Enitan’s his innocence and patriotism when we recall the narratives that followed the Baga Massacre, in Borno state. In fact, we believe with those expositions, the actions of Brigadier-General Enitan and others are justiciable, reasonable and dialectical. What will a soldier do when his superiors have diverted funds meant to prepare him/her for an operation that involves risks of losing one’s live and troops, given that he/she also has been trained on the principle of self-preservation even in the fiercest battles? Saving the lives of troops that he led must have been imperative.”
“We therefore join our voices in urging the Presidential Investigation panel to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant the gallant soldiers pardon. Section 198 of the Armed Forces as well as Section 175 of the constitution which grants the President powers grant pardon to any convicted person in Nigeria without condition and regardless of whether or not the convicts had pending appeals could relied upon to achieve this.” He concluded.